Earlier this year, I came across a section in a book on the role of the design document in development. Now, during my time in the games industry whilst Working For Other People (yuk), I came to the conclusion that only two of the plethora of attitudes towards The Doc was actually put into practice in genuine game development - (1) basically, there isn't one, or (2) it's researched, written, re-written, and then largely ignored while the game is actually developed. (I assumed that this happened because of the pressure involved - people simply didn't have the time to update it.) When I started work on my first game ack in February, I wasn't sure what approach to take. I spent the best part of two weeks full-time on the doc itself in an attempt to assure myself that every element sat nicely next to the others, brainstorming, adding twenty ideas, removing nineteen of them and so on until I felt like I had exactly what I wanted. Then: I started work on the game. At first I was obsessive, taking an "if it's not in the doc, it's not in the game" approach, leaving it on my desk where I could see it and altering it before I made any actual changes to the design. As time went on, it got updated less and less, and now it's basically fallen by the wayside. I think it's because I feel I can make better impulse decisions concerning the game, now that I've spent the best part of a year on it. Of course, it could be simply because I'm getting a little tetchy nowadays It'd be interesting to hear other people's attitudes towards design documents. Here in this forum I see that there's a good mix of newcomers like myself, people with strong and successful titles to their names, and all shades between. So - do people in general feel the need to use a design document? How extensive is it? And how flexible is it? And, does its relevance change as the project progresses?